I like Paulo Coelho’s books mainly due to the inspiration the book provides through his simple yet powerful way of expressing things. If you haven’t read his first book The Alchemist I would highly recommend it. His latest book Like the Flowing River is an intimate collection of his reflections and short stories. One of the stories from the book teaches five things to learn from a pencil. Even though I have heard the same before through a mail forward in the form of presentation slide, I loved the way Paulo Coelho had put it in the form of a short story. Below I have copied on how he has explained the five qualities of a pencil that we can hang on to.
“A pencil has five qualities which, if you manage to hang on to them, will make you a person who is always at peace with the world.
First quality: you are capable of great things, but you must never forget that there is a hand guiding your steps. We call that hand God, and He always guides us according to His will.
Second quality: now and then, I have to stop writing and use a sharpener. That makes the pencil suffer a little, but afterwards, he’s much sharper. So you, too, must learn to bear certain pains and sorrows, because they will make you a better person.
Third quality: the pencil always allows us to use an eraser to rub out any mistakes. This means that correcting something we did is not necessarily a bad thing; it helps to keep us on the road to justice.
Fourth quality: what really matters in a pencil is not its wooden exterior, but the graphite inside. So always pay attention to what is happening inside you.
Finally, the pencil’s fifth quality: it always leaves a mark. In just the same way, you should know that everything you do in life will leave a mark, so try to be conscious of that in your every action.”